KosherFest 2014 set for Sunday in Prairie Village - KCTV5

KosherFest 2014 set for Sunday in Prairie Village

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With names like Mandelbrot, Rugelach and Noodle Kugel, you know you're in for something special, or at least different. And that's just the tip of the iceberg at KosherFest 2014, which will be held Sunday, June 1. The festival is put on by Congregation Ohev Sholom and will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. So, why KosherFest? Organizers say it was a way to enhance both the understanding and appreciation of Jewish foods, culture and traditions.

"Our hope is that KosherFest will provide knowledge of, and familiarity with, the Jewish community in an entertaining way." said Kelly Jackson, chair of KosherFest 2014. "We hope everyone will join in the delicious fun."

One key person providing both the delicious and the fun is Chef Barry M. Brooks. Brooks is the corporate executive chef/partner at a restaurant and catering operation in suburban Chicago with annual sales in excess of $2 million. On Sunday, Brooks will be selling on a much smaller scale as he focuses on hummus and its many variations in a live cooking demonstration. KCTV5 asked Brooks what he likes about events like KosherFest 2014.

"As a chef, I love the cultural diversity in the interpretation and preparation of the food," Brooks said. "Being a part of an organization that proliferates dreams and education is really special."

Brooks said the bottom line is fun. Hopefully, a bit of education can be served up as a side dish, including an understanding that Kosher food is a lifestyle and a way of life.

"Kosher food is about a dedication to the days of old in a new world, and food that's cooked with love that brings family together," Brooks shared. "Kosher food is also about a stricter level of ingredients procured with certain protocol to meet Kosher law."

KCTV5 also asked Brooks what he was looking forward to this weekend in Kansas City. He had a laundry list, including working in the kitchen, which he says is both relaxing and gratifying, seeing the guests enjoy a day of sunshine (hopefully) and tasty food (definitely) and, most of all, spending time with family.

"I look forward most of all to the very reason I come, to support and spend time with my dear mother, Carol Brooks who roped me into KosherFest," Brooks concluded.    

In additional to Brooks' live cooking demonstration, a wide array of food will be available for purchase, to eat-in or take home. Among the Kosher delicacies for the sampling: noodle kugel, falafel, stuffed cabbage, crisp potato latkes, blintzes, baklava, rugelach and so much more.

I got the chance to try some of the items that will be front and center at KosherFest in advance of this weekend's event, including a meat knish, cabbage roll, baklava and some different flavors of mandelbrot, a crispy cookie often sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. To me, the mandelbrot is reminiscent, in texture anyway, to an Italian biscotti. After my sampling, all I can say is I wish I could attend KosherFest so I could try more.

In addition to all of the Kosher goodies, festival organizers promise music (traditional Jewish, of course) and plenty of fun for the kids.

Admission is $2 per person or $5 per family. Visitors also have the option of making donations to Harvesters-two cans person or five cans per family for free admission.

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